Brad’s Status (2017)

I’m starting to believe that Amazon Studios now represents good indie film. I mean, some of my favourite films were distributed by them: The Big Sick, Manchester by the Sea, The Handmaiden. I will definitely be on a lookout for future films distributed by Amazon Studios 🙂

Brad’s Status is a movie that is very relevant today. It felt like a warning to our society, in the form of a satire on our daily obsession with social media. The premise might sound a little like Black Mirror’s Nosedive, but the actually the tone and purpose of both films are very different. There’s a bit of hope by the end of Brad’s Status, and fans of Black Mirror will know that there is nothing positive about any Black Mirror episode (except San Junipero, maybe).

Sometimes I worry that people think of me as a failure.

As a Singaporean, sometimes I get caught up with the society I live in, and I find myself being a “Brad” very often. Being envious of my friends from business school working at fancy banks, fantasizing them earning big bucks and buying stuff I couldn’t afford. It felt like the movie projected my shameful thoughts and insecurities onto the screen. I found his delusions very repulsive, sometimes even laughable. I really disliked him for the way that he was, but at some point it dawned upon me that it only reflected how much I actually disliked myself. And I doubt I was the only one in the cinema who felt that way.

Ben Stiller was great but gosh, Austin Abrams was so mesmerizing in his role as Brad’s son, Troy! Actually, Troy is the kind of person I aspire to be: confident in his abilities, yet very humble, and also very understanding towards his dad’s ridiculous behaviour. Brad and Troy are nothing like each other (nearly polar opposites!) but despite that, there’s something deeper that keeps them close together as a father-son pair, which I found very endearing at times.

Troy

Troy: “Everyone only thinks about themselves. The only person that’s thinking about you is me. So the only person’s opinion you should care about is mine.”

Brad: “So what’s your opinion?”

Troy: “Well… I love you.”

Okay, I cannot for the life of me remember the exact words. And I’m not about to buy another ticket just to find out what it is. BUT GUYS, look at that, how could you not love Troy for saying that to his dad? He’s too sweet.

I recommend this film even though the script isn’t fantastic and the plot ultimately is still lacking a little something. What this film does is to raise a meaningful discussion, it’s meant to make us start thinking and reflecting on this issue. The first step to solving the problem is basic awareness of our ridiculous behaviour. In an ideal context I would force all Singaporean parents to watch this movie, for I have lost count of conversations between parents that didn’t involve them bragging which universities their children graduated from. Disgusting.

Well, okay, the movie is not fun nor exciting but it has a very important point to make. It’s also actually one of those films where you’re very aware that the pace wasn’t fast, but you weren’t exactly bored. I recommend this film, yep I do. Anyone above the age of 15 who owns a smartphone should watch this. Films aren’t just for entertainment, you know.